Seven Layer Seven Grain Bread




About: Always making something....

I absolutely love bread, and the more whole grain/nuts/seeds/etc there is in it the better.

I also love sandwiches, but they do present a few inconveniences:

- you are committed to one size sandwich - 2 slices of bread plus filling - or multiples thereof, unless you go to the trouble of making a half sandwich
- every time you want a sandwich you need to drag out all of the ingredients, which tends to make me slack off, so I end up with boring, simple sandwiches
- many sandwiches are better toasted, which adds another level of inconvenience

So I invented a bread with sandwich style ingredients baked right into it. It's already nice and toasty on the outside, and you can cut whatever size piece you want from it. I used 7 grain cereal to give it a pleasant texture, and added a whole lot of herbs and vegetables to keep it interesting. There's an almost infinite number of things that could be included between the layers of bread.

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Step 1: Ingredients

1 tbsp honey
1 1/4 cups water just a bit warmer than bathwater
Bottled water is better than tap (because chlorine kills yeast) and water from boiling potatoes is better than bottled water. I used water from boiling potatoes.

1/2 cup steel cut 7 grain cereal
Other numbers of grains would work as well, this is just my preference.

1 packet bread yeast
1 packet rapid rise bread yeast
Keep your yeast in the fridge to make it last longer.

2 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing

2 cups (or more, depending on humidity) white flour
Unbleached is better, but any white will do. Don't be tempted to replace it with wheat flour or you'll bake a brick, (though you could get away with replacing half a cup or so).

1 tsp salt

This is what I used, but you can put almost anything into it, as long as it's something you would be willing to eat before baking (what I mean is that deli meat is okay, but raw turkey is not).

pepperoni (I used what was left in a package which was enough for one layer)
1/2 onion
2 roma tomatoes
dried rosemary
shredded mozarella and parmesan
fresh savory, basil, tarragon, and thyme
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
salt (sea or kosher salt are best) and pepper

Slice the tomatoes and onion as thin as is reasonable, slice the garlic as thin as possible. Thoroughly wash the fresh herbs and pull the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems.

Step 2: Make the Dough

Mix the 7 grain cereal, 3/4 cup of water and oil. Leave for about 15 minutes, then start the rest of the bread.

You can do the next few steps in an electric mixer or by hand. If you're doing it by hand don't be afraid to use your hands to mix it as it turns into dough.

Mix the remaining water with the honey in the mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the packets of yeast over it. Leave it for 5 minutes to get foamy.

Add the soaked cereal and mix.

Add a cup of flour and mix in completely.

Add the salt. Never let salt touch yeast directly. Salt + yeast = death.

Keep adding flour and mixing until you have a nice looking dough. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

You can choose to let the mixer do most of the kneeding, or you can do it by hand.

The goal when kneeding bread is to go from a rough mix to a nice smooth dough.

Sprinkle a little flour on a smooth surface - my kitchen came with a wooden cutting board in the cabinets that's perfect, but a nice clean counter or table works just as well. Place the mixed together dough on that surface, then sprinkle a little more flour on top. The flour prevents it from sticking down.

Push the heels of your hands down onto the dough, then use your fingers to pull the far edge of the dough toward you. Fold it about in half and repeat. Turn it 90 degrees fairly often. I've included a short video to give you a sense of what I'm talking about.

You'll know when you're done because the dough will be smooth and soft, and almost a little bit like it's 'alive'.

Step 3: Layer the Bread

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.

I used a springform pan so I'd be sure it looked pretty in the pictures, but i basically fell out of the pan so any cake pan that's 8 to 9 inches in diameter should do.

Roll one piece out until it's just bigger than the pan you plan to bake it in.

Place it in the bottom of the pan and push around the edges until it fills the bottom and comes up on the sides just a bit.

Cover this bottom layer of bread with the pepperoni, garlic and onion.

Roll out another piece of the dough, as round and close to the size of the pan as possible.

Brush a little oil over the bread. Layer in the tomatoes and dried rosemary. If you're changing the recipe add any of the dried herbs you're using here, the tomatoes will help hydrate them and release more flavor. The oil is brushed into this layer because when tomato is heated with oil it releases more lycopene, which you probably already know is really good for you.

Roll out another piece of dough and layer it in.

Cover this one with the shredded cheese and fresh herbs. I don't have an exact quantity on the cheese I used, it was enough to make a substantial layer over the bread, probably around a cup total.

Roll out the last piece of dough. Place it over the cheese, and tuck the edges down in to reduce how much the cheese can come in contact with the pan. Cheese touching the pan may overcook and burn.

Brush the top of the bread with a bit more oil, then sprinkle it well with the salt, pepper and a bit more rosemary.

Step 4: Rising and Baking

Place the pan in a warm place to rise. I put mine in the microwave because it tends to be warm and draft free, but due to the metal pan this would be a bad idea if someone is likely to come along and mess with it.

Traditionally you want your bread to double in size, but between the 7 grain cereal and filling layers it won't rise that much. You want it to rise about 50%, in my case, about to the top of the pan.

Once it's risen that much (probably 1 to 2 hours) preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake it for 35 minutes. It should be golden brown on top, and will probably have pulled away from the edges of the pan a bit.

Step 5: Enjoying

Let it cool for a few minutes, then pull it out of the pan. Be careful when cutting into it because there is a layer of melty cheese.

I prefer it warm from the oven and with a bit of dipping oil on it, but it's still very tasty cold. Keep it in the fridge after it cools.

It's a great snack by itself, and it's really wonderful with a salad for lunch or with spaghetti for dinner. I know it'll keep nicely for 2 or 3 days, but it's never remained uneaten for longer than that in my house....

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    18 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I made this bread on the weekend and it was delicious. But I do have a question as I am really new to bread making. What is the difference between bread yeast and rapid rise bread yeast. I didn't have bread yeast, so I used active and instant yeasts. 2 packets sounded like a lot but I did it anyway. It turned out but did I do it right or was it just luck! Thanks for this. Really great idea!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This looks really good! Thanks for sharing your hard work.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The one thing I'd be a bit concerned about with this recipe is the 1-2 hours to let the dough rise. If people put meats other than cured sausage, etc., there is a chance it could be a breeding ground for bacteria during that time. It would be a little more work, but the bottom layer could be separate and then, just before baking, arrange the refrigerated meat onto it, assemble the whole thing and then bake it. That would be safer.

    I would only substitute part of the white with whole wheat unless you've done a lot of baking with whole wheat. White rises more easily (at least in my experience), and this runs the risk of becoming very dense if it doesn't rise enough. Try a partial substitution the first time, if it still works substitute it all!


    11 years ago on Step 5

    Thank you so much for going to all the trouble it took to put this great idea on the website! It sounds sooo healthy and will not be boring! I'm looking forward to trying it soon. Thanks once again!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    I love convenient ways to get more veggies into my food, and there's something magic about seven grain (both the texture and feeling full for longer.) I hope yours turns out delicious!


    9 years ago on Step 5

    Just made this for pregnant sister. She devoured it and begged me to make another one with roast beef, turkey and ham. I prepared it, but not in time to cook it. This one is all mine. She thinks you should have called it a loaf of sandwich though.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 5

    I'm glad you both got to enjoy this! I haven't made it for myself in a while, but roast beef seems like a great way to go... *Starts searching for a grocery store that is open late*


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! that looks nice, I was wondering about mine containing nothing but cheese, garlic and MEAT, lots of meat - ham, roast beef and maybe some pig's 'rib-eye'. Maybe make it pizza-sized..... if I only had a bigger pan.

    1 reply

    That should totally work, but like I just edited in, be sure that everything is pre-cooked. There's no way to be sure meat would cook to a safe level in half an hour if it started raw, and the bread probably couldn't take much more than 45 minutes in the oven. Otherwise go ahead - I'd weight the meat to the bottom where's it's likely to get hottest - but otherwise it sounds delicious! And randomly - do you eat like a hippie or eat hippies?


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I'm salivating just looking at it... very nice! There's some text overlap between steps 4 and 5 but it's not confusing. I'm thinking about cilantro and shredded jalapeño peppers, which really mellow out when baked...

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for pointing that out - it was a copy/paste error but it should be fixed now. I know what you mean about jalapenos - I'm not much a fan of them raw but baked they're really nice. You could even do it 'taco influenced' by switching the pepperoni for cooked ground beef and replacing a half cup of flour with corn meal. Corn meal in bread gives a fabulous texture that might really complement those changes.....


    12 years ago on Introduction

    This looks truly phenomenal! I will try it for sure. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!